Welcome back! It’ll be a fairly quick post today, as I’ve not had a lot of time to play, but that gives me a chance to bust out a bit of a “season review” post.
Last time out, our decent form was enough to scrape into the Serie B promotion play-offs, although we fell at the first hurdle. It’s for the best I think, as the squad needs more love, and I’d rather do the rebuilding work without trying to play catch-up with a much higher calibre of opposition.
Today I’ll take a swift glance at how the players did last season, before spending some time on youth development and the youth intake.
And the boardroom may get a mention towards the end of the post…
(Very Brief) Season Review:
Our lack of a consistent tactical plan shows in the team of the season selection, which lines up in the formation played before I took over:
From that eleven, three will be returning to their parent clubs after loans, Ricca will likely be sold, and Barbati is unlikely to feature very much as the winds of change blow through our corner of Genoa.
Out of the players that will remain with us for next season, Adriano Mari was the top scorer with six goals, and no-one that will stay managed more than two assists.
After such a mediocre season, personal accolades were thin on the ground, but Dimitrije Zaric added third place in Serie B Defender of the Year to his fan award, and the fact that he was our only player to average over seven.
Those facts make things appear bleak, but I’m cautiously optimistic. Enough of the young players I introduced to the first team squad have impressed me (particularly Conte, Conta and Lanteri), and the signings we’ve made have mostly settled in (apart from the disappointing Riccio), so I have reason to hope that just a few new faces in the summer to complement our returning loanees will be enough to make a proper run at promotion next year.
After his year on a totally irrational loan to divisional rivals Siena, I expect Camillo Roccella will feature in our first team next season:
The most important prize of all (outside of Manager of the Year).
I’ve had a blast trying to develop the squad so far, and will outline a little of my methodology before picking out a few examples from this season.
I tend to break down the training into four sections throughout the season.
- First is a pre-season and early season focus on tactics and fitness. The tactical part tends to come through team training, with the majority of the squad given an individual training focus on a physical attribute area. As a huge fan of pace and acceleration, a big majority of the squad are put on quickness training.
- A few weeks into the season I will switch to a player trait focus. These will attempt to complement the player roles featured in the tactic. Frequent examples include “Gets Forward Whenever Possible” for full backs, “Cuts Inside” for inside forwards and “Runs With Ball” for wingers. In central areas, I tend to have more variety, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of individuals. However, centre backs and defensive midfielders are encouraged to keep things simple on the ball, with the more creative or attacking midfielders being pushed towards taking risks and driving forwards. Up front I’ll be trying to have a classic deep-lying forward/advanced forward combo, with the former encouraged to link with midfield, and the latter to try and break past the defensive line. I love player traits.
- Come the new calendar year (hopefully following successful adoption of new traits), I’ll spend a couple of months focusing on improving the weakest areas for each player for the role they are playing.
- Lastly, as the season reaches it’s climax, I’ll likely reduce the intensity of first team training to ensure the squad makes it to the end of the season, although the young players are exempt from this, with new youth players through the intake being indoctrinated to their new roles and/or positions.
Sorry if that was dull, it won’t happen again. Some player examples…
At the tender age of 16, Conta was good enough to make nine first team starts last season, and made good progress on his attributes across the board:
He’s added a textbook player trait for a full back, and has put on over half a stone in weight. I’m sure it’s all muscle.
Similarly, Conte is another teenager that made good attribute progress, having played ten times:
His lack of new trait is mostly because I haven’t decided how to use him yet, and don’t want to add something that I regret later. We may have to focus on his defensive abilities in the coming year.
Mazzoli is another who will be returning from a loan spell:
He’s made a bit of progress in Serie C, and I look forward to raising his technical abilities a bit, and of course, adding a trait or two.
With any luck, we can return to look at these guys in a years time and see that things have progressed even more.
It wasn’t the finest intake to be totally frank. I only ended up signing half of the players. For me, the best prospect is Eugenio Carbone:
He got a brief mention in the last post after bagging a goal on his debut after just nine minutes. He obviously needs work, but with some decent technicals and a promising start to his physicals, there’s stuff to work with. He’s also 6’3″. I’m not fully convinced by the traits he’s started with though.
For the coaches, Nicolò Demontis is the best prospect:
I’ve learned to trust my coaches and their evaluations of potential, so I’ll be keeping an eye on Nicolò.
We’ve had a takeover:
Not a great deal has changed, although they have taken away my developing youth philosophy. They are also pumping £10m into the youth facilities, which is good, but also will leave us quite low on funds.
Our budget for the season ahead is generous:
But I have no intention of using it all. Especially the wage budget. It will be a secondary aim of mine to be reducing our wage expenditure so that we’re spending less money next season. Selling Ricca should go a long way to helping with that.
Next time out we’ll be attacking my first full season at Sampdoria, with the aim very much to get promotion to Serie A, with a youthful, largely homegrown squad.
It’s a busy time for me out in the real world at the moment, so there’s a fair chance of delay, but I’ll play it by ear.
Sidenote: I’m really looking forward to sorting out the squad numbers… Thanks for reading!